Sony says it's pleased with its entry into the emerging Indian game market
with the March release of PlayStation 2 title Hanuman: Boy Warrior
, but the title's now drawing criticism from a Hindu statesman.
Universal Society of Hinduism president Rajan Zed said in a statement released to media outlets including Gamasutra that Hanuman: Boy Warrior
"trivializes the highly-revered deity of Hinduism, and urged Sony to withdraw the game from sale.
Hyderabad, India-based Aurona Technologies developed the game, which is playable in Hindi and English.
"Controlling and manipulating Lord Hanuman with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse [is] denigration," said Zed. "Lord Hanuman was not meant to be reduced to just a 'character' in a video game to solidify [a] company/product's base in the growing economy of India."
Hanuman is a major figure in Hindu scripture, and Zed said it was inappropriate for him in a game that would share shelf space with Britney's Dance Beat, First Kiss Stories, Jackass
and other irreverent mainstream properties.
Although Zed stressed strong support for free speech and peaceful debate within Hinduism, he said India should develop a content rating system specific to its national concerns, and suggested until a more specific ratings board convenes, the Central Board of Film Certification should be the determining body in decisions of content propriety for the country.
"Hindus [welcome the] entertainment industry to immerse in Hinduism, but taking it seriously and respectfully, and not for refashioning Hinduism concepts and symbols for mercantile greed," Zed said. "Hindus would gladly provide genuine entertainment industry seekers the resources they needed for their study and research regarding Hinduism."
Sony Computer Entertainment's India region manager Atindriya Bose said last week that Hanuman: Boy Warrior
sold in 10,000 units on day one, exceeding expectations.
"Usually, a good international title would see 3,000-4,000 units sale on the first day. This proved the potential of regional games,” Bose said.
Sony projects Hanuman: Boy Warrior
will sell 50,000 units in its first year, adjusting prior projections of 30,000 units based on the strong early performance.